When Panthers owner David Tepper talked to reporters earlier this week, he wouldn’t discuss the future of coach Ron Rivera and General Manager Marty Hurney, but he did say he wouldn’t accept long-term mediocrity from the $2.275 billion toy he bought last year.
That message wasn’t lost on Rivera.
The Panthers coach said he too, did not accept mediocrity from his 5-5 team.
“That’s to be expected,” Rivera said, via Alaina Getzenberg of the Charlotte Observer. “That’s what it’s about. This game is about winning, this game isn’t about anything else other than winning. This is my 33rd year, I get it. When I hear (Tepper) talk about it and say the things that he should say so that our fans understand that, hey, I don’t accept it either. And that’s something that everybody has to understand. We don’t accept it.”
The Panthers have plateaued after an early bounce this year, but Rivera has generally had more success with his teams late in seasons.
He’s the winningest coach in franchise history, with a 76-61-1 record. Of course, if you set aside his 2015 Super Bowl season, he’s 61-60-1. But you can no easier set aside that 15-1 season than you can his two coach of the year honors, or the fact that he’s playing without his MVP quarterback this year, and backup Kyle Allen‘s experiencing the struggles you’d expect from a former undrafted rookie.
Whether that one big mitigating factor is enough to buy Rivera more time remains to be seen.